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States brief ~ Iowa high court rules city cannot control adjacent nature preserve

[JURIST] Leading Friday's states brief, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled today that Cedar Rapids [official website] does not have the authority to expand its control to include a preserve adjacent to the city because the city's extra-territorial jurisdiction does not extend to nature areas. The court said that while the Legislature intended to give cities extra-territorial jurisdiction over subdivisions located within 2 miles of the city, there are limits to that jurisdiction. After a 97-acre gift was added to the Rock Island Botanical Preserve, Cedar Rapids sought control over the property's development because state transportation officials had planned a 7-mile road through the area. AP has more.

In other state legal news ...

  • The Mississippi Supreme Court [official website] has ruled that Monsanto Company [corporate website] cannot subpoena documents from three out-of-state companies because no state law allows a Mississippi court to compel the companies, which are not parties to the lawsuit, to produce documents located outside of the state. Monsanto was seeking documents from Syngenta Crop Protection Inc., Syngenta Seeds, and Dow Agrosciences, based on the company's belief that the three had documents that would aid its defense in a lawsuit filed by Delta and Pine Land Company [corporate website]. Delta and Pine Land Co. sued Monsanto in 2000 after Monsanto called off a proposed merger. AP has more.

  • The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld [text] the traffic stop of a man later convicted of drunk driving by finding that the police officer who overlooked a temporary license plate acted properly in stopping the vehicle. The court's opinion said, "The primary issue presented in this case is whether a police officer may rely on his mistake of fact to justify a traffic stop. Our precedent answers this question in the affirmative and we see no reason to depart from it." The court further determined that the mistake was "an objectively reasonable one." The police officer stopped the vehicle for not having a license plate, but a temporary license plate was displayed in the rear window. AP has more.

  • The Oregon Supreme Court has affirmed a defendant's right to a speedy trial by ruling that despite staff and budget shortages, judges must demand that prosecutors present legal reasons for keeping the charges alive when a defendant requests the charges against him be dropped because of a delay in going to trial. The court found the delays in three cases - 11 months [decision text], 21 months [decision text], and 23 months [decision text] - violated the defendants' right to go to trial in a "reasonable period of time." The state's Attorney General's office argued that the state court's fiscal problems often put a drag on the court system and cases should not be dismissed for reasons beyond court official's control. The Oregonian has local coverage.

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